Meet the Patriots free agent signings

Bill Belichick did something he almost never does- open his pocketbook. Here’s what his unprecedented spending spree is bringing to Foxborough.

The New England Patriots did something that they haven’t normally done in years past: they spent money in free agency. After last year’s team fell short of expectations, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs, it was obvious the Patriots needed to do a lot to turn things around. Bill Belichick did just that spending $268 million so far in free agency, more than the team ever has in the offseason.

Tight End Jonnu Smith – The Patriots signed former Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith to a 4 year $50 million contract. Smith is a versatile tight end who can help the team in many different ways and instantly becomes one of the Patriots best weapons upon joining the team. “I just feel like I’m the most versatile tight end in this league,” Smith said on NFL Network. “That’s really not up for other people to tell me or not, I know what I can do. I know what I can do once the ball is in my hands, and I just feel that there’s no tight end in the league better than me at that. I’m just going to go out and prove that.”

Linebacker Matthew Judon – Judon signed a 4 year $56 million contract when free agency began last week and he fills a vital role that the Patriots desperately need in an edge rusher. Last year, Judon was a Pro Bowl selection last year and now instantly becomes one of the best players on the defensive side of the ball. “I’m just excited to be here,” Judon said in an interview with’s Megan O’Brien. “The Patriots are a well-detailed organization as you see throughout the years. I’m just happy that they scouted and did their research and thought I could play here and play well here. So, I’m just excited to get it going.”

Tight End Hunter Henry- Henry signed a 3 year $37.5 million deal with New England joining another top tight end in Jonnu Smith. The Patriots have a history of using two tight ends effectively; most recently with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. If Henry can stay healthy he is one of the best pure tight ends in the league and will likely be the Patriots best pass catcher. His combination with Smith will give Josh McDaniels another dangerous two tight end set to play with, after recent years of lackluster tight end play.

“First, I love football,” Henry said in an interview with Megan O’Brien. “I’m a guy that’s going to give everything I can every single week. Scratch and claw, fight, and be tough. And I just want to win. That’s my biggest thing. Whatever it takes to win. If that’s blocking one week or just being really tenacious in the run game, whatever it takes to win, I don’t care what it takes, that’s what I want.”

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy – A familiar face is back in Foxboro after a one year stint with the Miami Dolphins. Van Noy joined the Patriots in 20116 and won two super bowls with New England and he hopes to add a third in the future. After speculation that he could return after being released by Miami, Van Noy signed a 2 year $12 million contract with New England. 

Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor – Agholor is coming off his best season of his career with the Las Vegas Raiders and if he plays up to his potential, he can be the Patriots best wide receiver. He has struggled with dropping the ball in his career especially while with the Philadelphia Eagles, but with confidence he can be an extremely valuable player for New England. In his time with the Eagles, he was a member of the Super Bowl champion team that defeated the Patriots in the 2017-2018 season. “I know that Coach Belichick and his staff and this organization had a plan in free agency and to be part of that means the world,” he said. “I am just excited to get to work.”

Safety Jalen Mills – Mills, another member of the Eagles team that defeated New England in the Super Bowl a few years ago, comes to the Patriots on a 4 year $24 million contract. Mills was a seventh round pick by Philadelphia in 2016 and worked his way to be a valuable NFL starter on defense. Mills can play both safety and cornerback and should provide the Patriots with solid depth.

Wide Receiver Kendrick Bourne- Bourne is a former undrafted free agent who made a name for himself with the San Francisco 49ers. Last season Bourne caught 49 passes for 667 yards and should provide a boost to a Patriots receiving core that was extremely thin last year.

Center/ Guard Ted Karas – Karas like Van Noy is another former Patriot who has found his way back in Foxboro. After a one year stint in Miami, Karas returns to New England where he will add some much needed depth at both the center and guard position.

Linebacker Raekwon McMillian Linebacker- MacMillian was a member of the Las Vegas Raiders last season and also was previously a member of the division rival Miami Dolphins. At only 25 years old, McMillian can grow in the Patriots system and provide much needed depth at the linebacker position which was extremely weak last season.

Defensive Tackle Henry Anderson – Anderson fills another much needed spot for New England at defensive tackle, especially after the loss of Adam Butler to Miami. He spent the last three seasons with the Jets and with the opportunity can be a valuable player for the Patriots.

Along with all these free agent signings, the Patriots also brought back some valuable players from last year’s team. New England signed Cam Newton, David Andrews, Deatrich Wise, Carl Davis, Cody Davis, Nick Folk and Justin Bethel. New England has also made two trades bringing back offensive tackle Trent Brown from Las Vegas and sending Marcus Cannon and Ryan Izzo to the Texans for draft picks.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NFrieburger